‘Can’t Be Two Wendy’s’: Wendy’s Expansion into Australia Sparks Potential Naming Showdown
Wendy’s Milk Bar owner in Australia, Dean Tully, has weighed in on the news that US fast food chain, Wendy’s, is planning to open hundreds of outlets in Down Under. Tully told The Guardian, “There can’t be two Wendy’s.” He added, “We don’t have two Hungry Jack’s. We don’t have two McDonald’s. We are Wendy’s.” The Australian chain has been operating since 1979 and currently has 120 stores across Australia and New Zealand. However, it seems his complaints won’t prevent the American burger beasts from invading our southern shores.
Related – Iconic American Fast Food Chain Wendy’s is Coming to Australia
Wendy’s, recognized by its logo of a red-haired girl with pigtails and famed for its square beef patties and Frosty dessert, is planning to enter the Australian market on the east coast. Abigail Pringle, the president of Wendy’s, told the Australian Financial Review that the chain was in talks with potential Australian franchisees about opening restaurants.
While trade mark law expert Prof Michael Handler at UNSW believes the two chains will come to an agreement to coexist in Australia under their respective names, Tully has a different take. “They can come to Australia and strut their stuff by all means, but I wouldn’t want it to be under the Wendy’s banner,” he said.
The US chain will likely want to avoid a situation like Burger King faced in Australia, where they had to rebrand to Hungry Jack’s due to an existing Burger King franchise in the country. Similarly, Taco Bell’s entry into Australia was delayed due to the presence of another Mexican chain named Taco Bill.
According to Handler, the decision-making power lies with the Australian Wendy’s chain, as they were the first to enter the market. However, the law expert believes that the two chains are likely to negotiate and reach an agreement to coexist, especially as one focuses on ice cream while the other is a burger restaurant.
“They can make a case that what they’re doing won’t cause confusion,” Handler said.
“I can imagine that Australian consumers won’t be too confused and can differentiate the longstanding ice-cream business from the big international burger chain, so it’s plausible to think that the two can coexist.”
However, Handler does note that situations can become difficult when product offerings overlap, such as in the case of Taco Bell and Taco Bill or Burger King in Australia.
One owner of a Wendy’s Milk Bar store in New South Wales said she wasn’t concerned and there was unlikely to be confusion between the outlets. “They’re burgers, and we’re a hotdogs and ice cream store, so it is different,” she said. “Perhaps it will cause issues for them, and they’ll find Australians are walking in asking for a hotdog.”
It remains to be seen how the arrival of Wendy’s will affect the Australian market. But one thing’s for sure, Aussies love their fast food, and it’s only a matter of time before they decide which Wendy’s they prefer.